Schlumberger’s Clever Frack Takes Aim At Gas Costs

Production costs of natural gas from unconventional fields could tumble in the United States if a new technique developed by Schlumberger lives up to its billing.

The world’s largest oilfield services company by market value and others working in the industry have suffered this year because the runaway success of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling techniques to extract so-called unconventional gas has created a glut and caused a price slide.

But using a proprietary system called Hiway that only became commercially viable last year, Schlumberger’s fracker in chief believes he has knocked a lump out of the infant industry’s three major cost components; water, sand, and trucks.
Schlumberger is already using the system on nearly a third of all fracking jobs, and expects that to rise rapidly to 50-70 percent, according to Kyel Hodenfield, the company’s vice president for unconventional resources.

“It can vary, but using Hiway we generally say you need 40 percent less proppant,” (graded sand mixed with guar gum or lubricating chemicals), he told Reuters in an interview.

“Water is more variable, but it’s somewhere between 20 and 50 percent less.”

Less sand, less water and less pumping adds up to fewer trucks, Hodenfield explained on the sidelines of the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference in Stavanger, Norway.

“Those are the big costs. Anything you can do to reduce the amount of sand, the amount of water, and the amount of horsepower is going to fall to the bottom line.”


One response to “Schlumberger’s Clever Frack Takes Aim At Gas Costs

  1. Reducing costs should help the supply side of the natural gas equation and natural gas pricing should fall. Furthering our “Natural Gas Thesis” available at

    quote ..”Natural Gas – The migration to use natural gas for transportation fuel is sound logic based on business economics. Efficiently run companies always find ways of becoming more profitable by squeezing every last drop from their cost structure. Companies routinely chase after very small cost savings opportunities. Moving from diesel to natural gas for a logistics fuel has the potential to save companies 50% per gallon on their fuel costs. This equates to MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars in benefits for shareholders in companies like FedEx, UPS, Wal-Mart, Target, Waste Management, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, just to name a few. Companies will RUSH to carry out changes when millions of dollars are on the line, and when those changes give a competitive cost structure advantage over peers.”

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